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are baby nail clippers necessary

Baby Nail Clippers Are Necessary: Don’t Get the Wrong Ones!

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Staring down the list of a baby registry can be intimidating for every new parent. Between car seats, strollers, and diapers, many start wondering whether or not things such as baby nail clippers are necessary so they can simplify their list. I’ve thought about my own experiences and decided to explore this question a little further.

Most parents should consider baby nail clippers a necessity because they are designed for small baby fingers and they will do the job more safely than adult clippers. Because baby fingernails can grow quickly and easily become sharp and jagged, they require frequent clipping, trimming, or filing.

We’ve had a couple of pairs of baby nail clippers over the years and we’ve definitely gotten a lot of value from them. Let’s see what the differences are between the baby and adult versions and see if they are more expensive!

Baby nail clippers are a necessity for your newborn

I’ve been a parent for nine years now and my wife and I consider baby nail clippers to be one of those things that you should definitely have in your baby arsenal. The vast majority of our friends and family also prefer to use the clippers meant for a baby because they are easier to use and help drastically reduce the number of accidental cuts on those tiny baby fingers and toes!

When my girls were newborns I remember one of the things that caught me off guard was just how sharp baby fingernails could get. I just assumed that everything about them would be nice, sweet, and full of cuddles.

I was wrong.

Once the nails get a little length on them, they turn into deadly razors capable of slicing the flesh of an adult male easily. Couple that with the fact that babies tend to have poor control over their arm movements and you get a face full of scratches!

How are baby nail clippers different?

As with most baby products, the biggest difference between them and the adult version is the emphasis on safety as well as the particular needs of a newborn. Since we DO NOT want to accidentally cut those little fingers, tear the nail, or anything else, we need something that will be shaped and sized to fit the job at hand and has added features to make things easier at the same time.

To give you an idea of the biggest differences, here are some of the most useful features that you might find on baby nail clippers:

  • An LED light just under the clipper for maximum visibility and precision
  • ‘Spy holes’ right in front of the clipper so that you can see exactly where the blades will be cutting
  • A magnifying glass for the tiniest newborn nails
  • Oversized grips and handles that make it easier for adult hands to hold and use
  • Overlapping edges to help reduce accidental cuts
  • Cute designs that help a baby have fun and stay comfortable with nail trimming as they get a little older

While you may be thinking that the smaller versions of the adult style of clippers are the same as the baby one, they really aren’t comparable in terms of features. Sure, you could make do with this option, but these probably won’t work nearly as well for you or the baby.

Are baby nail clippers more expensive than the regular ones?

I’ve found that in most cases baby nail clippers are the same price or even cheaper than adult clippers if you are comparing them apples-to-apples. As with most things, you can spend as much money as you want to once you start getting into fancy cases, designs, and extras, but sticking to the basics will save you money.

In general, you should expect to find basic baby nail clippers for between $2-12.

Any option in this price range will likely be safer and more effective than a regular adult version and you will definitely get a lot of value out of a quality clipper, especially if you plan to have more than one child. In our case, we picked up a version of the classic Safety 1st Steady Grip nail clipper (check reviews and buy on Amazon) years ago and it’s still working great. It’s on the lower end of the price spectrum and you really can’t go wrong with it.

If we lost the one we have and I was going to buy another one I would choose the NailFrida ‘SnipperClipper’ by Fridababy because we have really enjoyed their other products and found them to be of high quality. We have also had these recommended to us frequently by friends and family because of their value. This particular set (available on Amazon) is within the price range listed above and includes their cool s-shaped baby nail file as well to help round off edges and reduce the need to clip the nails so often.

Should I get my baby nail clippers as part of a grooming kit?

If you’ve ever found yourself in the baby aisle of the local superstore then you’ve probably seen a ton of little grooming kits that include a dozen or more accessories and claim to be a one-stop shop for pretty much anything related to your baby’s personal hygiene and sometimes some basic healthcare as well. You can usually find them priced between $10-25 and they can come in boy or girl-themed colors and other fun designs.

To be honest, my wife and I got one of these as a gift (actually we got two!) before my twins were born and we thought they were the coolest thing ever because it had so much stuff in it! Here is what they typically include:

  • Multiple kinds of baby brushes and combs
  • Nail clippers and files
  • Bottle-style medicine dispenser
  • Thermometer
  • Toothbrush
  • Bulb-style booger sucker
  • Basic medical supplies like bandages, alcohol pads, and tape
  • Carrying case

While some of these grooming kits can be a good deal and I certainly wouldn’t throw one away or return it if I got it as a gift, the problem with these things is that while they include everything, nothing stands out as high quality and the individual pieces often feel cheap.

To put things in perspective, nothing survived more than a couple of years from our first kits and we ended up replacing them with higher quality standalone products over the years. With this in mind, I would recommend picking up a baby nail clipper separate from one of these kits.

If you are dead set on picking up one of these kits, at least get a fancy one made from real bamboo (check out the pretty pictures and buy on Amazon). These will last much longer and will look great years later as a keepsake compared to some pieces of cheap plastic. Even if you don’t use them much, they would look great on display as well!

When can babies use nail clippers?

If your baby has nails that have grown too long you can start using nail clippers and this includes newborns.

It’s actually relatively common for babies to be born with longish fingernails and toenails and the nails on babies grow quite a bit faster than adults. They are also softer, more flexible, and grow more unevenly than adults. All of this can add up to a baby with nails that get jagged and long without frequent trims.

We’ve all seen that babies, especially newborns, don’t quite have control of their arms and legs yet and it is super easy for them to scratch not only other people but themselves. It’s so sad to see a baby scratch themselves in the face all while being unable to prevent it or do anything about it.

Joshua Bartlett
Joshua Bartlett

My name is Joshua Bartlett I run this blog with my wife Jarah. We have more than 11 years of parenting experience including three girls and one boy. I started this blog in late 2018 when I realized that I was dealing with baby-related issues on a constant basis…please read more about me here!